In this episode, I am joined by Mikhail Reider-Gordon, Managing Director of Global Affairs at Affiliated Monitors, Inc. Today, we consider why independence in monitors is so critical. Gordon has seen the continuing and ever-present need for independence by monitors and in monitorships. She noted that she has observed the selection of monitors “where their true independence is perhaps dubious.” There has also been a trend of  “hiring former colleagues with their agencies or people that have worked with in the past by regulators.” This has led some commentators to accuse the process of cronyism but also that monitors may be more sympathetic to the enforcement side. This latter point has led many companies to shy away from monitorships when perhaps they could best use their assistance.

It has also led into what Gordon characterized as the “danger of informal sympathies” with “subtle influences that can remove true impartiality.” Gordon underscored that true neutrals are not as easily come by as many may have thought. Such informality can be found in so many of our human relationships, former law school classmates, work colleagues, friendships, even home or social background can play such a significant role in allowing dispensations to occur, all of which can impact success of combating noncompliance.

Gordon tied all this “back to understanding on ethical culture where informality can allow certain behaviors to slide into a negative situation.” It could be “a willingness to cross lines regarding a specific regulation or failing to see that the spirit of the laws are not being fully upheld in a particular entity.” All of this means a monitor “can start with the proposition that every compliance and ethics program can be improved and then move to address what changes have to occur that will demonstrate to the outside world company and to the regulator which is overseeing terms of settlement agreement. Let’s  get you to that place and help you to understand the value of constant evolution and compliance and ethics program.”

For more information on AMI, check out their website. For more information on Mikhail Reider-Gordon, check out her LinkedIn profile.